South Africa reacts
By Ted Botha
The arrest of Olympic athlete and sports icon Oscar Pistorius after the shooting of his girlfriend on Thursday has caused South Africa to focus again on two hugely contentious issues, the proliferation of guns and the treatment of women. The South African Institute of Race Relations said that the deceased, model and law student Reeva Steenkamp, who was found shot in the Paralympian’s Pretoria home, was one of some 2,500 women killed on average each year.
Institute spokeswoman Lerato Moloi told Times Live that the effectiveness of the Domestic Violence Act and laws to limit access to firearms needed to be revisited. "Hopefully the massive media spotlight focused on this one incident will direct attention on the broader problem and prompt the policy initiatives necessary to combat it more effectively," she said.
Twitter was abuzz with people blaming the incident on the role of guns in South African society, according to News24, but a spokesman for the South African Gun Owners’ Association said it was Pistorius, not other gun owners, who had to take responsibility. The overall murder rate in South Africa has dropped by 50 percent since its peak in the late 1990s, and the number of women killed by intimate partners using a gun has also dropped, the organization Gun-Free South Africa told The New York Times.
Even President Jacob Zuma’s State of the Nation address Thursday was overshadowed by the killing of Steenkamp, although he used his speech to throw a spotlight on the abuse of women, such as the horrific gang rape and disembowelment of a 17-year-old girl on Feb. 2, Al Jazeera reported.
Protestors objecting to gender-based violence gathered outside parliament since Tuesday, although the head of the organization Rape Crisis says in the Mail & Guardian that she has mixed feelings about the renewed political interest. "On the one hand I have been moved by the outcry and the public support that has come with it," she said. "But I am shocked at how politicians have now only started coming to the table and asking the tough questions and calling for action. Why only now?"
By Dan Brillman
Jadeveon Clowney is a “beast” and an “absolute freak.” That’s football parlance for “really, really good.” Just ask execs with National Football League teams, who recently used those exact terms to describe the South Carolina sophomore defensive end.
Many speculate Clowney would be one of the top picks in the 2013 draft, if not the first. The problem is that Clowney, who just turned 20, is only two years removed from high school, and league rules prohibit him from entering the draft for at least one more year.
Why, asks Michael Silver of Yahoo Sports, if Clowney is ready right now, shouldn’t he be able to enter the big leagues? Instead of playing his junior year and risking injury, thereby diminishing his NFL prospects, or simply sitting out the season, Clowney should bring a lawsuit, Silver suggests.
He wouldn’t be the first. In 2004, Ohio State star Maurice Clarett sued the NFL for unreasonable restraint of trade on grounds that the three-year rule violated federal antitrust laws. A district court agreed, freeing Clarett and eight other players to enter the draft. The ruling was reversed on appeal, however (with an opinion written by then 2nd Circuit judge Sonia Sotomayor), on grounds that labor law bested antitrust law and that any change should come through collective bargaining.
So why sue again? Silver argues that Clowney could press the argument that the amateur players were not yet part of the NFL players union and, besides, the rule barring him from playing pro was not the product of a union contract but a 90-year-old league rule. And there has been some conflict between circuit court decisions, increasing the possibility of a Supreme Court review. A NFL Players Association spokesman told Silver that the union would support a challenge to the Clarett ruling.
The main reason for such a suit, Silver says, is self-interest. “Last year's No. 1 overall pick received a four-year, $22.1-million contract that was fully guaranteed. That, at a minimum, seems to be what Clowney would risk by playing for the Gamecocks in 2013,” he writes. “Apply this model to other careers, and imagine being a 20-year-old in that position.”
A drone court?
By Suhrith Parthasarathy
Some lawmakers concerned about the Obama administration’s secretive drone program have suggested a special court, modeled on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, is needed to review the targeted killings of suspected terrorists outside U.S. territory.
Would a drone court work and would it be legitimate? In an editorial, The New York Times argues that a drone court like the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court could be the first step for the president “if he is serious about bringing national security policy back under the rule of law.”
But some experts argue that it would be ill advised to model the body on the Surveillance Court, which is secretive, rarely rejects a request for surveillance and has largely acted as a rubber stamp for executive action. “It's not about evidence gathering, it's about punishment to the point of execution,” Mary Ellen O'Connell, professor of international law at the University of Notre Dame told the Associated Press. "We have never thought people could be executed without some kind of trial."
There are also big legal and policy obstacles to establishing a drone court, says Steve Vladeck, a professor at the American University Washington College of Law, in the Lawfare Blog. Such a court will only add legitimacy to the drone program. The focus should instead be on awarding nominal damages to those unlawfully injured by the program, according to Vladeck. Even if the solution would only be the “least-worst alternative,” it may have a deterrent effect on future government officers from carrying out illegal targeted killings, he writes.
By Anna Louie Sussman
The patron saint of equal pay for women, Lilly Ledbetter, will have her story told by director and self-described “feminist mom” Rachel Feldman, The Wrap reports.
Ledbetter worked for almost two decades, from 1979 to 1998, at a Goodyear tire factory in Alabama. After retiring, Ledbetter, who for years had worked as an area manager, sued Goodyear for paying her significantly less than her male counterparts. The case reached the Supreme Court, which denied Ledbetter’s claim on statute of limitation grounds. She was vindicated in 2009, when President Barack Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act that loosened the timeliness requirements for filing an employment discrimination suit.
On her website, Feldman describes Ledbetter’s journey as “a great American story as powerful as a ‘Norma Rae’ or ‘Erin Brockovich.’”
"Lilly chose Rachel over many industry heavyweights because of her passion and because she's a filmmaker, not an executive," Jon Goldfarb, the civil rights attorney in charge of Ledbetter's case, said in a statement, according to The Wrap. "We knew she was a perfect fit because of her own parallel struggles with employment equity for women in Hollywood."
By Anna Louie Sussman
The Google Art Project, a 2-year-old digital archive of over
30,000 high-resolution images of artworks, aims to expand access
to cultural treasures trapped behind museum walls. But due to
copyright issues, contemporary artworks have largely been left
out, skewing the project's selection, the American Bar Association Journal reports.
Copyright does not necessarily come from ownership of an
object but must be assigned separately through gift or contract,
the article notes. Copyright is moot once an artist has been
deceased for more than 70 years.
Troy Klyber, intellectual property manager at the Art
Institute of Chicago, got mixed reactions when he contacted a
number of contemporary and modern artists or their estates for
permission to submit their works to the Google project. While
some gave the green light, others feared the high-quality images
might be repurposed for commercial ends.
"Our selection was designed to avoid disputes," Klyber told
Summary Judgments for February 14
Summary Judgments for February 13
Summary Judgments for February 12
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